FIRST-EVER CONGRESSIONAL FORUM ON ANTI-TRANS VIOLENCE TODAY: Today, the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus is holding the first-ever Congressional Forum on Violence Against the Transgender Community in an effort to raise awareness of the recent scourge of anti-trans violence. This historic forum will include testimony from community organizers, advocates, and service providers on the impact and causes of violence. It will include two panels: one representing the lived experience of transgender victims and educating on the scope of violence experienced by transgender people, particularly transgender people of color, and a second panel featuring HRC President Chad Griffin and other voices of organizations dedicated to ending bias-motivated violence against transgender people. The panel comes the day after the FBI released its Hate Crime Statistics for 2014. For the second year in a row, the report included statistics on bias-motivated incidents based on gender identity - which grew from 31 reported to the FBI in 2013 to 98 in 2014, though thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country did not submit data. The new statistics come just days after HRC released a joint comprehensive report with the Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC) on the epidemic of violence against transgender people,  particularly transgender women of color. In addition to new recommendations, HRC has identified additional opportunities to strengthen reporting and help combat violence.  Read them here: http://bit.ly/1S1nVZl

UTAH JUDGE WHO TRIED TO TAKE FOSTER CHILD FROM SAME-SEX PARENTS RECUSES HIMSELF FROM CASE: On Monday, Utah Judge Scott Johansen recused himself from a case where he ordered the removal of child from the home of her married foster parents because of their sexual orientation. According to the Washington Post, “The state’s Division of Child and Family Services objected to the order, and the state’s Republican governor also cited concerns that Johansen’s order was not lawful.” Judge Johansen had already amended his order last week Friday, and allowed the child to remain with the parents until a new hearing on Dec. 4. Last week, HRC filed a formal complaint with the Utah Judicial Conduct Commission calling for a full investigation into Judge Johansen for a clear violation of the Utah Code of Judicial Conduct, and strongly urges that an investigation still proceed. More here: http://wapo.st/1MzgDIH and http://bit.ly/1MPyhLU

JIM OBERGEFELL ENDORSES HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT: Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the SCOTUS case Obergefell v. Hodges that led to nationwide marriage equality, has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. In his announcement, Obergefell said, “We have fought to not only change laws, but to change hearts, and now we need a President who will help us fight to eliminate the injustices that occur regularly in our community, and the best person to do that is Hillary Clinton.” He also spoke on the need for the Equality Act, a landmark federal bill that would address the lack of clear, fully-inclusive federal non-discrimination protections for LGBT Americans and provide basic protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, access to public spaces, and other important areas. In a speech to HRC volunteers and supporters last month, Clinton also called on Congress to act and pass this crucial piece of legislation. More here: http://bzfd.it/1QskRYA

AROUND THE WORLD

IRELAND TO END RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS FOR HOSPITALS AND SCHOOLS IN EMPLOYMENT EQUALITY ACT:  Yesterday, on the first day of nationwide marriage equality, the Irish government announced upcoming amendments to the country’s Employment Equality Act that will end religious exemptions that are currently in place for hospitals and schools. Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, the Minister of State for Equality, confirmed the changes in an interview with Newstalk, saying, “Marriage equality was a wonderful achievement, and Ireland should be very proud of being the first country to bring in marriage equality by popular vote. But if you’re 13 years of age, and you’re just coming out and you’re nervous, marriage equality, or marriage rights might feel a very long way away. We still have issues of homophobia in Ireland – I don’t think we’re unique in that respect – but the things we’re doing this week are going to go a long way to addressing that.” This past May, Ireland made history as the first country in the world to pass marriage equality through a national referendum. That new law took effect on Monday.  More here http://bit.ly/1NB87sq and here http://bit.ly/1MSUsMO

LITHUANIA POSTPONES VOTE ON ANTI-LGBT LAW: Lithuania has postponed its vote on what’s being described a ‘Russian-style’ gay propaganda law that would impose harsh fines on LGBT people who speak out and advocate for LGBT rights. But despite the postponement, the bill can be resubmitted for a vote at any time. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an internationally condemned and draconian anti-LGBT propaganda law in 2013, fueling a spree of violence against members of Russia’s LGBT community. Within the past year, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan also both sought to implement similar laws. In Kyrgyzstan, a version of the law is still being discussed in parliament while in Kazakhstan, a similar law was struck down as unconstitutional in May. This law is part of a growing trend towards anti-LGBT legislation in Eastern Europe and central Asia More here: http://bit.ly/1SVEHd2

URUGUAY JOINS THE GLOBAL EQUALITY FUND: According to the Washington Blade, Uruguay has joined the Global Equality Fund, a program of the U.S. Department of State that brings together governments, corporations, foundations, and civil society organizations to work towards a world where LGBT people can live free of violence and discrimination. Uruguay, the second Latin American country to pass nationwide marriage equality legislation in 2013, has a history of supporting LGBT inclusion. The formal announcement is scheduled for November 18. Earlier this year, HRC and the Global Equality Fund formed a new partnership focused on highlighting the work of the Fund to new audiences, including those in the private sector. More here: http://bit.ly/20ZrZPQ

READING RAINBOW

Buzzfeed's Lester Feder shares the heartbreaking story of a gay refugee who did the unthinkable to escape Iran…. The New York Time Magazine takes an in-depth look at the push to make bathrooms more accommodating to transgender and gender nonconforming people…and S.F. Gate shares the story of a transgender woman who has been the victim of assault twice this year.

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